Stuart Pearce criticises Reece Oxford’s omission from England Under-17 squad

West Ham youngster Oxford is considered one of the best talents in English football.

Oxford made three appearances for the Hammers at the beginning of the season, but Stuart Pearce has told talkSPORT that he is frustrated the young defender was not called up by England’s Under-17 side for the ongoing World Cup.

Pearce, who used to manage the Under-21 side, said: “If he is playing in West Ham’s first-team week after week, I would say ‘I can’t understand it, but ok, fine’. But if he is not in the West Ham squad, wow! Where is your progression, a) as a man, and b) as a footballer? He might have been up for the captaincy and captaining your country in Chile is better life experience and a better footballing experience for him to progress than staying at West Ham and not being in the squad.”

Oxford started the season as part of Slaven Bilic’s first-team, but dropped back down to the Under-21 side when the Hammers managed to complete their transfer business and bring in more experienced options.

However, the 16-year-old impressed despite his youth, and many believe he will continue to develop and should be seen again in the first-team later this season.

Yet, whilst he is currently playing Under-21 action, his absence from the Boleyn Ground would not have been felt if he had travelled to the Under-17 World Cup, and the experience would certainly have served him well.

There are no apparent reasons as to why he he did not travel with the squad, on West Ham’s request, and this sort of international experience would be great for his development.

Pearce raises a key point concerning Oxford, questioning why he was not called up despite the fact he is not playing competitive football right now, and the Hammers will be hoping that Oxford missing this tournament will not have a negative effect further on in his career.

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